The City has been jump-starting implementation of the Boston Creates plan by providing new financial resources. In his first and second budgets, Mayor Walsh tripled funding for the Boston Cultural Council, which makes grants to a wide variety of arts organizations. In his State of the City Address in January 2016, the Mayor announced a $1 million investment in the arts, using BRA community benefits funds—an allocation that was a direct result of feedback from the Boston Creates community engagement process. The money, to be used in Fiscal Year 2017 (FY17), which begins July 2016, will fund:
- a full-time employee in the Mayor’s Office of Arts and Culture who will work closely with the Mayor’s Office of Neighborhood Services and help artists navigate City Hall—from permitting to housing to small-business advice and all other City services;
- a competitive artist fellowship program;
- an expanded second round of the Boston AIR program, which will work with the Boston Centers for Youth and Families.
Mayor Walsh’s proposed FY17 budget, presented in April 2016, includes $2.3 million for the Mayor’s Office of Arts and Culture. This represents a sevenfold increase over funding in the years just preceding the Walsh administration.